Detroit

Health
1:10 pm
Sat October 27, 2012

Project in 23 Michigan schools seeks healthy approach

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan education officials are launching a pilot project in 23 high schools that aims to boost academic achievement by incorporating physical, emotional and social health programs.

The effort dubbed "think.respect." is funded through a $24 million federal grant and will be administered by the Michigan Department of Education. Schools were selected based partly on persistently low achievement.

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Economy
1:00 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Report: Detroit's home foreclosure rate is moving down

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Detroit’s home foreclosure rates are dropping.

Realty Trac reports Detroit now has the 39th highest home foreclosure rate in the country. That's a big change from a few years ago, when Detroit routinely ranked in the top ten.

In September,  Detroit’s home foreclosure rate was at its lowest point since September, 2006. 

Daren Bloomquist is with Realty Trac.    He says Detroit’s foreclosure numbers are improving, but he says more than half of Wayne County homeowners are ‘underwater” on their mortgages.

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Sports
11:23 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Tigers manager Jim Leyland 'the bridge' to Detroit's past

Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
Detroit Tigers

The odds makers are picking the Detroit Tigers, but the San Francisco Giants are a loose bunch.

They fought off three elimination games on their way to the World Series... twice.

Here's one statistic NPR's Tom Goldman pointed out this morning:

"Three times in the past in World Series when a team that's swept its way into the Series, like Detroit did, played a team that went the full seven games, like the Giants did, the team that went seven won every time."

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Detroit
1:15 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Belle Isle plan blocked by Detroit City Council

Some Detroiters have expressed their displeasure with the Belle Isle plan.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

Matt Helms of the Detroit Free Press reports the Detroit City Council has dug their heels in on a plan for Belle Isle. The plan calls for the state to lease the park from the city and run it as a state park.

The Council has "indefinitely postponed" plans for a public hearing on the plan.

From the Freep:

The council's decision means the proposal can't go forward until council members get what they want: more funding guarantees from the state as well as a fuller hearing on alternative proposals for the island park.

Council members said the state had yet to respond to its request that guarantees of millions of dollars in upgrades to the island be put in writing, information that was not specifically spelled out in the state’s proposed 30-year lease. The lease would be for 30 years with two optional 30-year renewals.

Politics & Government
9:26 am
Tue October 16, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Senate Fiscal Agency says Prop 6 will cost taxpayers

"A ballot proposal meant to stall a new international bridge in Detroit could cost Michigan taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. That’s according to a report from the Senate Fiscal Agency. Proposal 6 would require a public vote on any new international bridge or tunnel. The report says it would cost the state nearly $10.5 million  to hold a special election on a new crossing. On top of that, researchers say tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure funding could also be in jeopardy," Jake Neher reports.

ACLU suing Morgan Stanley for racist lending in Detroit


"The American Civil Liberties Union is suing Morgan Stanley on behalf of five Detroit homeowners. The group says Morgan Stanley violated federal anti-discrimination laws by encouraging a now-defunct sub-prime mortgage lender to make risky loans in predominantly black neighborhoods. The lawsuit was filed in a New York federal court, and seeks class-action status," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Response to meningitis outbreak might take time

"Congressman John Dingell says it will take time to figure out the right response to a meningitis outbreak caused by tainted steroids. But he's urging Congress to take action and ensure the same thing never happens again.   Dingell says right now, the Food and Drug Administration lacks the authority to regulate the company that made the contaminated medicine -- which has killed 15 people so far," Chris Zollars reports.

Arts & Culture
1:52 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Detroit's art scene gets a $4 million boost

The Detroit Children's Choir is one of 60 city arts organizations that will share the funding.
Photo Courtesy of the Detroit Children's Choir

From potters to puppeteers, there are some very relieved artists in Detroit this week.  More than 60 of the city's cultural groups are splitting a $4 million grant from the Kresge Foundation.

While four million bucks spread across 60 groups may not sound like a lot, it could actually be what keeps the lights on for some of them. Especially teeny groups, like the Detroit Children’s Choir.

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Detroit
10:11 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Detroit's police chief 'retires'

Mayor: Detroit police chief retires amid allegations of sex scandal involving subordinate.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing suspended Ralph Godbee following claims the city's police chief was involved in a sexual relationship with a subordinate.

Godbee was suspended last week after a lawyer for internal affairs officer Angelica Robinson revealed the two had been involved in a sexual relationship.

Godbee has not publicly commented on the claims.

Arts & Culture
12:11 am
Sat October 6, 2012

California art teacher and Detroit duo win top awards in ArtPrize 2012

ArtPrize 2012 winner Adonna Khare does live TV interviews following her win Friday night in Grand Rapids.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A part-time art teacher from Burbank, California won ArtPrize in Grand Rapids Friday night.

This was the first time Adonna Khare entered the art competition.

“I’m beyond grateful. I’m excited and completely surprised. But words cannot describe how happy I’m feeling right now,” Khare said.

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Arts & Culture
4:02 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Stateside: Dlectricity

Dlectricity.com

Mark Schwartz is illuminating Detroit. An organizer of Dlectricity, a contemporary light art festival running Oct. 5-6 in Detroit, Schwartz helped create an event he hopes will engage and stimulate his audience.

Cynthia Canty recently spoke with Schwartz about Dlectricity’s function in both the City of Detroit and the art world at large.

“Part of it is art; part of it is the regeneration of Detroit,” said Schwartz. “I think this will be a way for people to really enjoy Detroit at night and start thinking of this city as a pedestrian village.”

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Law
11:13 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Detroit Crime Commission gets $1 million to fight crime on east side

DETROIT (AP) — The new Detroit Crime Commission is getting a $1 million federal grant to help fight crime on the city's east side.

The money will be used to develop a "data-driven approach" to identify issues fueling crime. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says she's putting an assistant prosecutor in place to concentrate on Detroit's east side.

U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke, D-Mich., will present a symbolic check to the Detroit Crime Commission on Tuesday. The commission is a nonprofit group formed last year to act as a liaison between the public and law enforcement agencies.

It is staffed by retired law enforcers and led by Andrew Arena, the former head of the Detroit FBI.

Politics & Government
10:23 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Detroit water-sewer agency workers continue picket

DETROIT (AP) - Workers are back on the picket line a day after a judge ordered them to end a strike protesting job cuts at the Detroit regional water department.

WWJ-AM reports workers drew honks from passing motorists Tuesday morning outside a Detroit Water and Sewerage Department facility.

Union attorney George Washington on Monday called federal Judge Sean Cox's injunction "outrageous" and filed a motion to dissolve it.

The 950-member union went on strike Sunday to protest plans to lay off many of them and privatize some of the work. The workers belong to Local 207 of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees.

The proposed job cuts followed an April agreement between Mayor Dave Bing and Gov. Rick Snyder to head off a state takeover of the city's finances.

Politics & Government
2:15 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Striking Detroit sewer and water employees ordered back to work

A sewage main for the Detroit sewer and water system.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

U.S. District Judge Sean Cox has ordered a stop to a strike by workers in the Detroit water and sewer department.

But a union attorney says workers are not expected to be back on the job immediately. Attorney George Washington says a motion will be filed to dissolve the federal judge's motion.

Washington says, nobody will return to work until they have talked with their union leaders.

The Detroit Free Press reports that union lawyers are working to get Judge Cox off the case:

Lawyers for striking Detroit water and sewer workers want U.S. District Judge Sean Cox booted off their case, arguing he is acted as both a judge and a party to the dispute.

“This man is acting like an emergency financial manager on steroids,” said George Washington, one of the lawyers representing AFSCME 207, the union that represents more than 1,000 workers for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. “This is being managed as a dictatorship.”

The workers began the strike yesterday, to protest plans to eliminate most jobs through privatization or other steps.

The Detroit water and sewer department serves about 4 million people in southeastern Michigan.

Arts & Culture
11:40 am
Mon October 1, 2012

"Burn" opens to supportive crowd with many firefighters in Detroit

The Detroit Fire Department responds to a fire in 2010. Filmmakers embedded with the DFD for most of 2011.
Patricia Drury

The documentary "Burn" made its debut in Detroit over the weekend.

The film was shot by Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez.

The filmmakers say they were inspired to make a movie about Detroit firefighters from this great NPR story by Jackie Lydon from 2008:

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Business
2:53 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Stateside: Urban Rebound helps women business-owners

tv20detroit.com

Michigan is tenth in the nation for the number of women-owned businesses.

When it comes to revenue being pulled in by these businesses, Michigan ranks 49th out of the 50 states. 

Boosting the earning power of women is one of the leading goals of Count Me In.

The national group is helping women in southeast Michigan who own small businesses at an event called Urban Rebound.

Urban Rebound comes to Detroit on September 30 and October 1.

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Law
11:53 am
Thu September 27, 2012

Kilpatrick trial resumes; ex-lawmaker is witness

Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick
Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - After a day off, the corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has resumed with a former state senator in the witness chair.

Prosecutors on Thursday asked former Senate Majority Leader Dan DeGrow about approving state grants in 2000 when Kilpatrick was a member of the House.

The government alleges that Kilpatrick illegally funneled tax dollars to his pal, Bobby Ferguson. Kilpatrick, his father, Ferguson and the city's former water boss are charged with a racketeering conspiracy and other crimes.

The government's main claim is that Kilpatrick received hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash through bribery, extortion and other methods when he was mayor, from 2002 to fall 2008. He resigned four years ago in another scandal and now lives in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Politics & Government
8:50 am
Thu September 27, 2012

Commentary: Detroit’s next mayor

Ten years or so ago, I went to talk to the powerful and flamboyant medical malpractice lawyer Geoffrey Fieger, probably best known for successfully defending Dr. Jack Kevorkian in a series of sensational, high-profile assisted suicide trials.

He said he was thinking about running for mayor of Detroit, and wanted my confidential advice. I told him I thought that was a brilliant idea, but that there were only three things wrong with it.

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9:33 am
Wed September 26, 2012

Mike Duggan files papers for Detroit Mayoral run

Lead in text: 
There's been talk, and now it's official. Mike Duggan has filed papers this morning indicating a run for the Detroit mayor's office. The seat is up for a vote in next year's election. Duggan is the CEO of the Detroit Medical Center. Update 10:17 a.m. - Mike Duggan released a statement this morning about forming an exploratory committee for a mayoral run. From the statement: "Exploratory Committee Chairman Conrad Mallett explained the formation of the committee was a legal necessity. Michigan law requires a committee be established in order to receive or spend money, even at the exploratory stage. 'Over the next 90 days, the Committee --Mike Duggan for Mayor Exploratory Committee-- will meet with citizens, block clubs, neighborhood organizations and community leaders to assess Mike's support in the city,' Mallett said. 'We'll also have a broad presence on the Web to give anyone and everyone a chance to weigh-in on what Mike and this team should do, including what problems, issues and solutions the average citizen wants addressed.'"
Detroit - Mike Duggan filed papers Wednesday morning to create an exploratory committee to run for mayor, taking the first official step to raise and spend money to build a campaign, his campaign confirmed. Duggan, the former one-term Wayne County prosecutor and current CEO of the Detroit Medical Center, filed papers to the City Clerk's office at 8 a.m.
Politics & Government
4:51 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Detroit City Council still skeptical of state's Belle Isle plan

The James Scott Memorial Fountain on Belle Isle Park.
Mike Russell wikimedia commons

Members of the Detroit City Council are still deeply skeptical of a plan to turn Belle Isle into a state park.

That’s despite efforts by Mayor Dave Bing’s office and state officials to persuade them it's a good idea.

At a meeting today, Council members continued to express concern about a lack of specifics in the plan—including how much money the state plans to invest in improvements.

They also questioned why the state wants a long-term, 30-year lease.

Council member Saunteel Jenkins says there need to be more guarantees.

“If you’re saying to us ‘We want to trust us, give us 30 years and we’ll go out and get the money to make these improvements…’ I just want to see it in writing,” said Jenkins.

State officials said it's tough to be specific about those improvements because there’s no master plan for the island.

But they indicated the state could issue $20 million in bonds to upgrade Belle Isle.

Education
1:39 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Detroit schools find new way to buy school supplies

Detroit Public Schools' officials have found a new way to buy school supplies.
MyTudut flickr

The Detroit Public School district has turned to an online site used mostly by federal contractors to get its school supplies.

Officials credit “FedBid” with helping the district save hundreds of thousands of dollars in just a few months.

Bidders announce their intent to buy a product. Suppliers then compete to offer the best price.

District spokesman Steve Wasko said it has helped fix some problems with getting supplies to classrooms.

“This has been, not only from a supply standpoint but from all standpoints, a very smooth start to the school year—at least by way of comparison with previous years,” said Wasko.

Wasko said it's also a good way to save money without compromising the quality of education.

The district’s current budget calls for cutting five million dollars from its procurement budget.

District officials estimate using FedBid alone could save up to three million.

Detroit
10:42 am
Mon September 24, 2012

"World's largest property auction," Wayne County finishes first round

Dilapidated homes in Delray near Detroit.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

Wayne County has finished the first round of what’s been called the "world's largest property auction."

The county is trying to get rid of more than 22,000 tax-foreclosed properties by auction. More than 20,000 of them are in Detroit.

But despite the glut of vacant properties, housing prices are headed up in certain areas of the city. Bob Dorsey is chief analytics-officer with F.N.C., which tracks housing prices nationwide every month.

"We've noticed that there are certain neighborhoods that have done extremely well, and others that have are still very flat or even declining," said Dorsey.

Dorsey said many investors see money in an expanding rental market in Detroit, and nationwide. Leaders in Detroit’s downtown and midtown areas say housing demand now out-paces supply there.

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